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Rather Than Focus on Poverty and Hopelessness: Measures to Deprecate Divorce in Iran

By Niusha Saremi (source: Rooz Online)

At a meeting with senior cleric Javadi Amoli who is also the Friday imam of Ghom, a deputy minister at the ministry of youth and sports announced on Friday that, “In Iran for every five marriages there is one divorce, while in Ghom the ratio is four to one and in Tehran it is three to one. Eighty percent of people who get divorced in the country are under the age of thirty.”

Increase in Divorce, Decrease in Marriage
cartoon by Ehsan Ganji, Etemaad daily

Mahmoud Golzari also spoke of the creation of a national center to support marriage and help resolve marital problems at the non-governmental level. The drop in the longevity of marriage in recent years has turned into a serious concern for officials. To them the central issue relates to population and birth-rates which have been falling.

Maryam Mousavi, an attorney, talked with Rooz and explained that poverty, addiction, violence sexual discontent, etc. drive the rise in divorce rates. “Yes we see that instead of focusing more on addressing these issues officials limit their efforts to encouraging young women and men to get married and then complain about the rising divorce figures,” she said. She added that even if only a fraction of the amount of money that was being spent on encouraging the youth to get married was spent on reducing the social issues that cause them, divorce statistics would change.

Fleeting Project; Persevering problems

Iran’s ministry of youth says that there are currently some 10 million young people who qualify to get married but are not because they do not have the necessary resources and needs. According to him an organization called the national center for marriage support (Majmae Meli Kheirein Ezdevaj) is supposed to help with the problem. According to Golzari, this national center has offices in major cities, including Ghom, and will operate through non-governmental organizations to promote marriage and help future couples in their housing.

But this does not seem to be the only measure the government is taking to encourage young people to get married. Homayun Hashemi the head of Iran’s state welfare organization, an operational division of the ministry of labor and welfare, had earlier announced the creation of a about a new program called the prevention and intervention (BASHIR) to reduce divorce. He said the plan was currently being implemented in one of the provinces and that it has reduced the divorce rate by 56 percent. The plan addresses such topics as the pre-marital stage, the partner selection stage, the marriage stage and the conflict management stage, and issues such as love and intimacy, children and divorce issues.

MS Mousavi however said that protecting a marriage requires other conditions. “Many of the project that aim to reduce divorce are designed without a comprehensive professional look at the issue which only result in prolonging the divorce process,” she said. She then addressed the cause roots of divorce and said, “We see that after a few free-of-charge mediation sessions between couples who have marital problems the partners return to live together. Then after a few months the couple return to the divorce track and request it. So some waste much of their youth trying in future to save their marriage.”

434 Divorces Registered Every Day

Last May, the head of Iran’s records and registration organization announced that 434 divorces were recorded every day. Ahmad Toiserkani said, “In 1392 (between March 2013 and March 2014) 757,197 marriages were recorded in Iran which was a drop of 4.4 percent. The largest drop took place in the southern province of Yazd, registering a 16.7 percent drop while in the province of Khorasan the drop stood at 2.8 percent. In Tehran the rate of marriage dropped by 3.1 percent. In the same year, there were 92,158 divorces registered in the country, a rise of 4.6 percent compared to the previous year.”

According to Mostafa Forutan, a social scientist, over 90 percent of requests for divorce come from women. He continued, “The reasons for requests for divorce fall into four groups: domestic violence, addiction, poverty and economic issues, and, sexual issues.” He further said that 75 percent of divorce cases took place because of the couple’s lack of knowledge of marriage skills. He also said that the absence of the provision of the essential needs of a marriage constituted only 25 percent of the divorce requests, and that poverty played a small role than the other causes of divorce.

Maryam Mousavi pointed to divorce and said, “The stigma that is currently associated with divorce needs to be removed. Married couples should be allowed to break up and find happiness elsewhere if that is what they desire and where they stand better changes. At the same we should make stronger efforts to remove the causes of marital problems such as poverty, violence against women, and sexual problems.”

... Payvand News - 01/12/15 ... --

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